By Zuko Komisa
In South Africa, Bipolar Disorder affects up to 1% of the population, which sounds like a low number. Take in consideration that there are over 56 million people in SA, 1% equates to just over to half a million people affected.
Bipolar Disorder was formerly called manic depression, with symptoms ranging from extreme mood swings, where a person goes from a high that feels like you are on top of the world to feeling extremely depressed.
Unpacking this disorder Dr. Sindi Van Zyl dispelled some of the myths surrounding bipolar disorders.
Bipolar Disorder is still a taboo subject in the country, which could be why people don’t get diagnosed earlier. Bipolar Disorder is very difficult to diagnose as the different symptoms can present themselves at different times.
According to The South African Depression And Anxiety Group (SADAG), Bipolar disorder typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout one’s life.
It is often not recognised as an illness, and people who have it may suffer needlessly for years or even decades. Effective treatments are available that greatly alleviate the suffering caused by bipolar disorder.
“It’s important to be aware that with the stigma of mental disorders, the symptomology needs to be quite clear. Bipolar has two poles that why its call Bipolar, two spectrums; a person can be presented with depressive symptoms or they can be presented with manic symptoms.”
Listen to the full conversation here:
For help call the SADAG Mental Health Line 011 234 4837